How to Shorten a VW Pan
David Helland - Club Member #50
Page 2 of 4
Once the pan is clean, the next step is to support it about 2 feet
off the ground so that it is perfectly level and convenient for
cutting and welding. To level the pan, place a bubble level on the
straight part on top of the tunnel in front of the shift lever and
adjust the supports front and rear to center the bubble. The flat
part of the tunnel just in front of the rear access hole should
also be level. The pan must also be leveled from side to side. This
is accomplished by first placing a straight edge across the shock
towers of the front suspension and then adjusting for side to side
level. Then place a straight edge across the rear cast suspension
mounts to level the rear of the pan.
make criss-cross measurements to verify that the frame is straight.
Measure the distance from the top of one front shock tower to one
of the body attachment bolt holes in the opposite rear cast suspension
mounts. Repeat the measurement using the other front shock tower
and opposite rear mounting bolt hole. The measurements should be
the same within an 1/8 inch or so. We will repeat this process to
guarantee alignment after the 14-1/4 inches have been removed and
the two halves are pushed together.
make a template for marking the pan section to be removed, cut a
piece of construction paper exactly 14-/4 inches wide and about
30 inches long. Lay the template on the floor pan with one of the
long edges just touching the rear of the seat support rails. Use
a silver drawing pencil to draw two parallel lines from the side
of the pan over to the bottom edge of the tunnel.
the procedure on the other side of the pan. Now lay the paper over
the tunnel about two inches behind the emergency brake bracket.
Line up the template so that the edges of the paper match the lines
just drawn on the floor pan. Use the silver drawing pencil to trace
the edge of the paper over the tunnel at the front and rear of the
is now time to cut using a reciprocating "sawsall" (an air powered
cutting tool can also be used). It is important to not cut through
that are located inside the tunnel so special care will have to
be taken to locate and avoid them. Use the saw to just barely cut
through the front top corners of the tunnel just behind the emergency
brake. Stick a hacksaw blade through the cut to feel where it is
safe to cut. You can also shove a "snake light" into the rear access
cover to illuminate the interior of the tunnel. When you know where
it is safe to cut, go ahead and cut down the sides of the tunnel.
The rear cut is trickier because the tubes for the emergency brake
are flush with the sides of the tunnel. Be extremely careful to
cut through only the tunnel and not through the tubes. During the
cutting process a helper should apply oil to the saw blade so that
the job uses a couple of blades rather than a dozen. To remove the
tunnel section you must saw along the bottom just flush with the
cut up this piece because we will use it later to strengthen the
tunnel. Use a disk grinder to cut a slot in the tunnel so that the
saw blade can be inserted.
the top of the tunnel has been removed, put supports under the middle
of the car and cut the sections out of the sheet metal floor.
is best to cut the floor just inside the lines so that there will
be a slight overlap when the halves are put back together. Then
use a straight edge to draw two lines on the remaining bottom section
of the tunnel and cut it out.